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Animation Magic didn't stop CD-i development after Mutant Rampage

>> Saturday, May 18, 2019

The last title that Animation Magic produced on CD-i was Mutant Rampage. That same team was also responsible for Link: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon. In 1994, after finishing Mutant Rampage, Animation was working on another CD-i game: John Dark: Psychic Eye. Shortly after the introduction, Animation was took over by CapDisc, another well established CD-i developer. Unfortunately, CD-i was going down around 1995 as well, and CapDisc never took the job of finishing this promising CD-i game. 

A former Animation Magic employee talks about the CD-i project: "John dark was one of the last things I worked on there. I started writing a little sorta intro story for that, but got laid off in the grand restructuring before I finished, I think. I remember seeing some of the animation they'd done for that sometime later when I dropped by the office to visit the folks who were still left. I don't really remember even what sort of game it was - I think there were both puzzle and fighting elements to it. I'm still indirectly in touch with some of the other CapDisc folks, so I'll pass the request along. Actually, the "grand restructuring" is an interesting story, in case you don't already know it. In early '95, CapDisc merged with a company that had most of their staff in St. Petersburg, Russia. The people there got paid a fraction of what we did. Our management figured that we were all pretty interchangeable, and laid off half of us. The first sign that they'd made a mistake was that they had to hire back a bunch of people as contractors to finish the projects they were working on. The second sign was that most of us were immediately hired by their competition. The third was that, a few weeks later, half of the remaining people quit because all of their friends had been fired. They hired a bunch of new people to fill in the gaps, but they had lost a lot of expertise. On top of that, I heard that coordinating with the folks in Russia didn't go quite as smoothly as they had hoped. The company went down the tubes about a year later." 


What to think of this: Sonic Eraser was considered as online CD-i game

The World of CD-i found two sources that actually say that Sonic Eraser was planned for CD-i in Japan/Brazil for the ill-fated Meganet service. Meganet was an online service that Sega started in 1991 to allow Genesis users to download games on their Genesis/Mega Drive. The game itself is like a Columns version with a sonic sprite in it. But why do they mention a CD-i version?

The Meganet service was launched in 1991 in Japan. Philips also built an online service to be used with their CD-i system in 1995-1996. It is always interesting to see how these techniques are developed by different companies at the same time. Did they help each other? Was there any link between the TeleGenesis (announced for the USA but never released) and Web-i from Philips? Is there any link with the Meganet service that was relaunched in Brazil in 1995?

Or is it a simple typo that was picked up after the ISO surfaced in 2004 by Sonic Cult?

The internet doesn't give away this secret now, so we have two sources that simply claim a CD-i version was in the planning. It seems highly unlikely but stranger things have happened in the past!

[Sources: Sonic Scene and Nostallgia Brasil]


French TF1 brought us 'Le Journal Interactif 1994 and 1995', but also 'L'Affair Morlov' on CD-i

>> Friday, May 17, 2019

Philips Media France and TF1 signed a deal to produce low-priced bundles exclusively for the French people. For Philips it was a great way to promote its Digital Video capabilities. After the 1994 version of "Le Journal" they produced a follow-up in 1995. This was mainly due to the contract, but the titles were also profitable enough to develop. TF1 realized the Journal titles were easily to produce, with almost no costs, because the material was already available. The engine was supported by Philips so the title was done within three months.

The material was originally filmed by reporter Henri Chambon, whose contacts were broad enough for a total view on the news in France in 1994 and 1995. The limitation of one reporter was due to copyrights (money) so it happened certain small news aspects didn't reach the disc content! 

With Philips stepping out of the CD-i business in 1996, there was no option for "Le Journal Interactif 1996". TF1 didn't want to carry the costs so stepped away from CD-i (a little contradiction I believe because the costs were very low; it looks like a change in strategy). The Multimedia division put its money in Titus, instead of producing more CD-i titles via TF1 Enterprises. In 1996, TF1 owned 7% of Titus. And with this another CD-i secret is uncovered: Now I know who was behind the french game "L'Affair Morlov": TF1. TF1 funded the adventure game which was developed at CPIO, and was supposed to be a french title only. Philips wasn't available to publish the title anymore, and Titus demanded a broader release to cover costs. We've got new names to contact! Unfortunately the english translations didn't go without troubles, and the final release of the Morlov Affair is one with some differences between the french and english adaptions.


Proof that the original Rise of the Robots CD-i version was actually using the Digital Video Cartridge

>> Thursday, May 16, 2019

If you click on this image, you see that Rise of the Robots was announced in this catalogue as "DV Required" - You needed the Digital Video Cartridge to run this game. The extra memory was used for the backgrounds including the same effects as the Gremlin team had implemented in Litil Divil, where the mazes had actual moving backgrounds that were never possible without the extra memory of the Digital Video Cartridge. What happened?

The programmer of the CD-i version of Rise of the Robots, Pete Dabbs, explained: "I've always found it a bit weird that I did do two "final" versions, one for DV and one not because there was a massive rush on at the end of the project and I didn't have time to fit code for both into the same thing so it looks like only the non-DV version got released and got packaged as requiring (or using) DV??"

If we look at the back of the jewelcase of Rise of the Robots, you'll see it sais the Digital Video Cartridge is required to play this game.

While this is actually a base-case title. So there might be a CD-i prototype somewhere around with an unreleased version of the 'Digital Video on CD-i' version of Rise of the Robots!

It appeared more often that Philips was sluggish with the naming of CD-i products. Do you know more examples? Most of the times it is just a typo, like with Lost Eden, which has the base-case "compact disc interactive' on the front while it should actually be a 'Digital Video on CD-i'

[Thanks, Pete Dabbs]


The LG GDI-700 CD-i player was a little bit faster compared to Philips CD-i players

>> Tuesday, May 14, 2019

At least, in theory. It is a nice experiment to test relative data between the GDI-700 CD-i player (or the DVC version) and a Philips CD-i player. The reason behind it is as following:

"The GDI-700 used a Motorola 68341 processor which has a quadruple-buffered serial input port. In contrast, the SCC 68070 processor used by all Philips plauers has only a doubly-buffered serial input port. The hardware difference means that processor load on Philips players can be up to triple that for the LG, depending on programming.

The 68341 on-chip devices are generally somewhat more complex than the corresponding ones for the 68070, but this could be simply due to technology advances (I believe the 68070 processor predates the 68341 and even CD-i by several years). I have no data on the relative speed, but I would guess the LG player to be at least a little faster as the 68070 was the "reference" design and it is almost never a good idea to go slower than this :-)"

[Thanks, CDiFan]


A few rare Italian/french regional CD-i games, have you heard of these?

>> Monday, May 13, 2019

I can't imagine any other game platform that has so many regional games, released only in one country. Like Alfapet, a wordgame that was only released in Sweden. Or Lingo, another wordgame exclusively to The Netherlands. Un Indien dans la Ville, a french exclusive. All these titles are actually very nice. It makes the CD-i platform again more interesting, new rare games still pop up these years. What about these two, italian games on CD-i, do you know these? According to CD-i member Marco Parisio Java, Quiz Mania was an Italian release on CD-i. Also the title below in the Sapientino series was regional, if it was italian then there was also a french release. Have you played these? I guess these regional titles are quite unknown to the community.


How to start the Space Invaders game in The Apprentice CD-i: "MarvInvaders"

>> Sunday, May 12, 2019

Did you know that The Apprentice has a secret minigame called MarvInvaders? This is a Space Invaders clone, with cute typical Vision Factory graphics. You can play it when entering a cheat code in The Apprentice:

This code must be entered by holding down button 2 and moving the CD-i controller as indicated. Press these buttons in the Title Screen:

Space Invaders: up, right, down, left, up, down, left, right

Cute Invaders: Well past the commerical demise of Philips CD-i, Cheat Codes for The Apprentice have only recently been released on April 24, 2005 by an anonymous developer from SPC Vision that we only know as cdidev. One of these cheat codes opens up a mini game which turns out to be a Space Invaders clone only this time with a typcial SPC Vision twist substituting the alien hordes with cute teddy bears and chicks of the feathered variety! This cute little Space Invaders clone was called "Marvinvaders" by the SPC Vision team and is possibly the cutest classic conversion ever undertaken!


Based on original sprites and sound, Shikotei completely remade The Apprentice CD-i for PC between 2010-1019

>> Saturday, May 11, 2019

CD-i member Shikotei did a very remarkable job: He converted the CD-i game "The Apprentice" to PC by using the original sprites and graphics.

Shikotei: "Throughout the years I've had a pet project going on a slow pace. Sometime during 2010-2011 I started working on it.As with most hobby projects, they either take a long time to get anywhere, or simply never see completion.

I've hinted at having most of the CLUT images, but wanting to get every sprite too here (2012).
And here (2016) once again.
I've shown extensive knowledge on the composition of the level data here (2017).
And (for the first time) stated my goal (2017) here.

As you can see, there've been gaps of several years in which I did nothing or very little. Early 2017 I got a major breakthrough when the core engine finally became stable enough (and bug-free) that I could actually continue. The core engine is the part where the level data is read and processed to a list of platforms (and slopes, walls, ceilings) and where Marvin (then just a white square with a black outline) can walk along and jump on. I've rebuilt this particular section several times before I got it to work the way I needed it to."

Regarding copyright, I'm quite certain I'm breaking some rules.. but:
Game: The Apprentice is from 1994 (24 years ago)
Developers: The Vision Factory/SPC/SPC Vision went bankrupt in 2002 (16 years ago)
Publisher: Philips Interactive Media International... might exist? Not much info could be easily found. Have they released anything since 1996?
Console: The CD-i has been discontinued in 1998 (20 years ago)

The trick is to split the huge problem into big ones. And the big into small, and the small ones into even tinier ones. And keep that up until you can solve the issue! Then work your way up into bigger ones that are (by then) partially solved.

[Thanks, Shikotei, cdifan]


The original Amiga version of Dimo's Quest had the frog Dimo, but Philips didn't like the character so it morphed

>> Friday, May 10, 2019

One little detail CD-i member Shikotei noticed: in the Dimo's Quest maps, you still have little frog Dimo: I take it this is actually a tile in the maps? The actual Dimo sprite in the final game is completely different.

The original Amiga game had the frog Dimo, but Philips didn't like the character so it morphed.
First it became "pumpkin" Dimo, with a nice Halloween backstory.
Here the candies were supposed to be Dimo's friends who had been bespelled by a "wicked wizard".
Dimo had to retrieve them all and there were between-worlds animations where they popped back into kids.

Then the character morphed again to "cool" Dimo who just loves candy, which is what ultimately got pressed.
Everyone I know that has seen the halloween version liked it much better...

It certainly makes Dimo's story (the why) a lot less selfish. From "Do you like candy? Well I'm gonna take you on a candy quest and I know the perfect place. It's pretty dangerous out there, so come on and help me if you dare!" If I recall correctly, he says that during the start of the game. to something like "My friends have all been turned into candy and I want to save them from this very wicked old man! Come on and help me if you can.".

They did rework the frog sprite into a (what I call) red crocodile

Luke Verhulst did various redesigns on Dimo (he did at least two on the "baseball" version alone).
Could be that the crocodile is only shown after some cheat code has been activated... But it seems that the cheat mode has been taken out of the official pressed version!

[Thanks, Shikotei, cdifan]


Meanwhile in July 1993 this was big news:

>> Thursday, May 9, 2019


The benefit of physical games: Litil Divil inserted an open walkthrough map for you to keep track your journey

Litil Divil was an expensive game, 120 NLG at the time, and it had a nice walkthrough insert like you see above so you can keep track of your progress. That's a real benefit of physical games, I like these small extra touches. Would anyone happen to have a topview of this to print again?

[Thanks, CDiUniversal]


CD-i Classic Advertisement #4: Christmas Country

>> Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Philips created a DVD version of CD-i's 'The Lost Ride' as demonstrator to promote DVD

The amazing graphics (especially at that time) of The Lost Ride CD-i must have given the idea to someone at Philips to use this game as promotional material for the DVD format. At some point, Philips was investigating some sort of DVD-i, when CD-i was already dropped but Philips wanted to continue the interactivity part. As Philips still had its own pressing facility, it was easy to press a dvd of the game with only the videos, without interactivity. It feels like a walkthrough, but the great thing is the DVD supports a higher resolution. So in some way this is a HQ version of The Lost Ride. Perhaps just to promote the quality of DVD, but an amazing idea of a great CD-i game!

[Thanks, Candela]


Thanks to the release of Frog Feast's source code, 'Gameblabla' was able to port Android's Killminds to CD-i in 2019

>> Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Gameblabla is an Android developer who delivered the nice puzzle game Killminds on Android as well as on other platforms like 3DO.

Get points by filling the 4 available slots with squares.
Get even more points by filling a slot with a single color square !
The further you make progress, the harder it gets.

Do you think you have what it takes to score 10,000 points ?
Find out in Killminds, the ultimate puzzle game !

Gameblabla: "Thanks to the release of Frog Feast's source code, i was able to work on a port of Killminds and make a basic port for the CD-i. This has no sounds but it works fine on my PAL CD-i 220."

If you want to download it and burn it on a CD (with Imgburn), grab the game here :

Check out the source code here :

"Unfortunately, i am encountering some issues with sound and i have no idea how to use the CDDA functions still. Cdoty lost his source code from his older days it seems... (thanks cdifan for helping out) So for now, this is as far as it is going to get." Gameblabla tell us.

Luckily, with the rise of The World of CD-i this may get a new boost.
Thanks to Gameblabla and the help of our codemaster CD-i Fan, this Frog Feast code based is open to everyone who may help.

Download the files of the source code and the BIN/CUE.

With the help of The World of CD-i, Super Quartet might get a new update with music and sounds developed by DJ Koelkast. Omegalfa offered to prepare the CD-i case artwork (front, rear and CD) 

It might be even have a physical release in the future.

Gameblabla’s info:
French male, borned in 1996.
[Thanks, Gameblabla]


Philips ADS created the NIRD (Non-Intrusive Real-time Debugger) to help debug CD-i games

>> Monday, May 6, 2019

The NIRD is a real-time debugger in the form of a cartridge about the size of a DV cart that plugs in the DV slot, with a through connector and cradle so a DV cart can then be plugged in. There's then some PC software that you use when running it.

The NIRD (Non-Intrusive Real-time Debugger ) was used to receive NIRD traces and used the Inquest software to "interrogate" them. Very useful for weird problems!

Paul Clarke, the author of the NIRD, explains: "It samples the address, data and control bus of the CD-I processor as exposed on the expansion port and saves 16384 bus cycles in a round robin format until it spots a bug. You then download up to 16384 cycles before the bug to the PC where I wrote a bus cycle disassembler that shows you what went wrong, even down to C-source level if you like. I got a patent for it - see link here and you can find out more about my current work here

I have a CD-I 220 and CDI 450 and full NIRD in flight case in the loft. It works with all production CD-I players and even has an adaptor for CDI 450 players with their different connector."

Paul continues: "RamRaid accessed specific CD-Online server which has long since gone so no I don't think we will ever see that site or the maps again. Shame. Game used my own code version of TFTP to download files but don't have docs etc - all long gone. Even my old Philips Research Labs in Horely (named after nearby Redhill town) has been flattened and a new industrial building is now being built there at the moment (I go past it on train every day).

I visited Benny and the team at Dorking Studios to help out with debugging The Seventh Guest but hadn't heard of that bug no. Benny was a cool guy and brought his dog to work with him which was odd in the 90's. Probably would be odd even now but maybe not at a dot com place in LA.

In theory the NIRD I have in my loft could be used today but would need a retro PC running DOS to run the software. When I get hold of it I will post some pictures and maybe a scan of the manual here,and may even donate it to a good CD-I cause one day."

The ADS team paid tribute to the power of N.I.R.D in this touching credit screen from Arcade Classics. The definition of N.I.R.D is Non-Intrusive Real-time Debugger!

[Thanks, Paul Clarke, the author of the N.I.R.D.]


Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

  © Interactive Dreams Version 5 by The Black Moon Project 2013

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